MU earns win, draw against Big Ten opponents

The kicks soaring at Valley Fields Sunday often stalled and dropped short of their intended destinations — all due to the wind.

Yet Mother Nature couldn’t stop Marquette from walking away with a 2-1 win against Illinois and a 0-0 draw against Wisconsin.

After finishing the game against the Fighting Illini, the team got a two-hour break and then met in-state rival Wisconsin.

In the final 10 minutes of Marquette’s match against the Badgers, the team had multiple chances to get a goal, but couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities.

“I think they did everything that we could have asked of them besides scoring that goal,” coach Markus Roeders said.

Had the game lasted a few minutes longer than the regulation 90, the tie-breaking goal would’ve happened, he said.

Many of those attempts were the result of short, quick passes through the middle of the field resulting in space being made on the sidelines to advance the play.

This short passing game set up the second goal against the Illini. After getting lost in a mix of Illinois and Marquette jerseys, the ball found its way to the foot of freshman midfielder Kate Reigle at the top of the goal box.

It was important to get that second goal, and Reigle was glad she was able to help build some comfort for her team by putting it ahead 2-0, she said.

Throughout both matches, the women were able to progress offensively by moving the ball from the center midfielders and leading the open player on the outside.

Going into the second match of the day, the Golden Eagles faced slightly tougher competition and struggled with possession against Wisconsin.

“In the Illinois game, we were really able to possess the ball better,” junior goalkeeper Natalie Kulla said. “Wisconsin was a little bit higher pressure than Illinois was.”

The Illini and Badger goalkeepers made some big saves to keep the Golden Eagles from advancing further, including a diving save from Illinois’ senior goalkeeper Alexandra Kapicka after Marquette’s junior forward Rachael Sloan had a breakaway opportunity to make the score 3-0.

Roeders has been changing positions with a few players to see what will work best for the upcoming fall season. So far the changes have all been positive, he said.

For example, freshman midfielder Emily Jacobson played the majority of the day at sweeper and excelled by attacking the ball aggressively and recovering in breakaway situations.

With new positions come new challenges, though.

One miscommunication among the defense against Wisconsin led to Kulla needing to make a quick reflex save with 17:47 left in the first half.

“It’s (Jacobson’s) first time playing a lot, so just being able to be comfortable communicating with each other is something that I think will come with playing together more,” Kulla said.

Reigle agreed that communication is a big part of any game.

“We just need to be consistent out there with our talking and keeping possession of the ball and just playing simple,” she said.